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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Small fish in a giant pond’

Senior+swimmer+Jing+Wen+Quah+competes+in+the+Butterfly+for+the+Aggies.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Senior swimmer Jing Wen Quah competes in the Butterfly for the Aggies.

Senior Jing Wen Quah is heading into her fourth and final season as a Texas A&M swimmer, and has swam across the world from Singapore to the states.
Quah grew up in Singapore where there wasn’t a strong swimming community. She didn’t experience the level of competition that comes with the sport until coming to the states to swim for A&M.
“Singapore is just so small, and you know the whole swimming community and who swims what. Sports isn’t a big focus in Singapore, so it’s not as competitive,” Quah said. “Coming here my eyes were open — I was a small fish in a giant pond and it was just crazy to see there are so many other competitors and athletes that have the same goals as I do and are just as driven and hardworking, if not more, than I am. It is so inspiring and is what keeps me motivated in the pool.”
Growing up, Quah said she was heavily influenced by her two older siblings who also competed in swimming.
“My dad likes to tell me that whenever he brought them to training practice, he wanted to see how I did,” Quah said. “He said I always floated super well and seemed to love the water, so I’ve been swimming ever since.”
For Quah, her commitment to swim with A&M was different than that of her teammates.
“For me it was super hard, I was a very late commit so I wasn’t able to take any trips. Basically I talked to my coach and she gave me a list of schools to reach out to and send emails to, and she knew Steve [Bultman] from A&M and told me to check out their program,” Quah said. “That’s how we got talking and Steve actually asked me for videos of my swim, which really stood out to me because usually coaches just look at your times, but he actually wanted to look at my stroke under water and my races.”
A&M coach Steve Bultman said he was a supporter of Quah from the beginning.
“She is such a hard worker,” Bultman said. “She’s done some things in practice that are really, really good and we have seen that slowly transfer into meets, just waiting to see her bust loose and have some phenomenal swims and meets.”
A highlight from Quah’s past three years at A&M was winning the SECs her freshman year.
“Nothing can beat the feeling of my freshman year SECs,” Quah said. “It was on home ground and it was my first one. The [200] fly, getting first was such a big moment for me, and no other swimming accomplishment so far has been able to live up to that.”
Bultman agreed that her win was an achievement for such a young athlete, but said Quah’s focus was on the race, not the competitors.
“She was kind of shocked that she did so well but part of it is not worrying about who you’re racing against and not being afraid of other people’s reputation or times, or whether their juniors or seniors, just ‘hey I am going to try and win, I don’t care who it is,’” Bultman said.
Quah said practice has carried on as normal for the most part for the A&M swim and dive team despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been training pretty regularly,” Quah said. “The only thing is the lane assignment. We can’t have too many girls in one lane at a certain point.”
As of right now, nothing about Quah’s senior season is certain, with plans changing every week.
“Right now I think we are able to do some dual meets, but we’re not super sure on the dates just yet,” Quah said.
Quah is hopeful to have continued success in the pool and to surpass the success from her freshman year at the SECs.
“Hopefully in my senior year I will get a chance to top that moment,” Quah said.

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